DUBAI: Mumbai Indians' Indian Premier League (IPL) roster remains devoid of a win after four games on Wednesday (today), when they play the 20th and last match of Season 7's UAE leg against Sunrisers Hyderabad, two points is what they will want to fly home with. Mumbai have hit rock-bottom in their title defence, getting blanked four times in a row and without any points going into their fifth match, after which the action shifts to India for the final phase from May 2 to June 1.
Against Hyderabad, who are only a shade better than MI at No. 7 on the leaderboard with three defeats and a win in four matches, Mumbai should feel a little more confident; but that confidence will have to transform into wickets from the bowlers and runs from the batsmen. Batting has been Mumbai's biggest headache at the start of this season, with none of the big names living up to their reputation.
Michael Hussey, captain Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson have been a shadow of themselves, leaving the eminent think-tank of coach John Wright, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Ricky Ponting and Jonty Rhodes frustrated. The dip in batting form has prevented Mumbai from posting 150 or more in any of their four defeats, where they scored totals of 122, 115, 141 and 125. And though Hyderabad don't seem too menacing, their bowling - with Dale Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Darren Sammy and Amit Mishra in the ranks - is certain to test the mettle of off-colour Mumbai line-up.
Steyn and Bhuvneshwar have bowled pretty consistently, while legspinner Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma have looked in decent bowling form. Mumbai's bowling too has done well and has even bigger names compared to Hyderabad. Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh need no introduction, neither does Sri Lanka's World T20-winning captain Lasith Malinga. However, they would want to strike in unison to leave a winning impression on the game. They also have the experienced Pragyan Ojha to partner Harbhajan and will want Anderson and Pollard to contribute with the ball as well, besides picking up their batting form.
Hyderabad skipper Shikhar Dhawan must be annoyed with his batting form, which has come to hurt the team. Only Aussies Aaron Finch and David Warner have managed to be among the runs with some degree of success, while the middle order comprising Lokesh Rahul, Venugopal Rao and Sammy doesn't exude much confidence but will have to contribute in a way that allows the team's big guns to play their natural game. In short, both teams are short on confidence as far as batting is concerned, while looking fairly competitive in the bowling department.
ISLAMABAD – Former South African Test cricketer Jonty Rhodes has said that Pakistan's chances ...